Cleveland Triathlon Club

My Last Race?

The last race I completed before my cardiac event.

This recap begins with the race but it is more about the events that transpired after the race. 


During the swim I did not feel comfortable. I had not trained much leading up to the race and was just going through the motions. I was being passed like a blue haired Floridian driving at church pace with my left blinker on. In the back of my mind I knew I shouldn't push it. I came out of the water in 33:14 which was not bad for as slow as I was taking it. 

The bike was a surprise. I averaged 18.5 MPH on a flat but windy course. A year prior I had averaged only 16.9 MPH in similar conditions. My Fenix 3 never picked up the HR monitor or the cadence sensor so I was flying blind. I used just speed and perception to determine how hard I was pushing. 

I felt fine after the race and felt I could have pushed even harder, except for the nagging thought in the back of my mind. I had been feeling a little chest pain leading up to the race but had just gotten over a chest cold. The pain felt like that burning sensation when you take a deep breath in cold air. So I excused it as still recovering form the illness.


Vacation on TopSail Island, NC. Rest and relaxation. Time to recover completley before a race at the end of the month. After vacation, I started ramping up the training and started feeling the pain again under load. Every breath I took felt uncomfortable. Yet still I convinced myself it was the lungs. I went for a lunch ride and my co-worker, pn a fixed gear bike, beat me on a climb. The pain kicked in and I had to back off and barely made it to the top. 

I skipped the race and took it easy. A few weeks later, I was moving concrete and dirt in the back yard. I was working up a sweat but not breathing hard. The pain came on again. It can't be the lungs now. I am getting concerned and was in denial. I still held onto the idea it could be the cold recovery.


Late in the month I was awoken at 2:00 AM to the same pain. Now I am worried but still in denial. 2 weeks went buy with a few more episodes of pain before I acted. Finally I take action and go to the doctor. 


Dr. visit leads to a stress test appointment.


October 4th to be exact. I take the stress test and I get the pain. I request to cut the treadmill short and they finsish the nuclear test. 1 hour later I was directed by Dr. to go directly to the hospital. "In fact" she said, "Why don't you go the ER". 

October 5th I get my new LAD stent to open up a 95% blockage.

November - December:

Cardiac rehab. Very low level workouts all in Zone R. After 6 weeks Zone 1. Finally I get my follow up stress test. This time an echo test and not a nuclear test. 


The results. I failed the test. There are indications of another blockage. The surgeon is not happy that the second test was and echo because now we do not have an apples to apples comarison. So another test is scheduled.


I can't workout other than light walks until the test is complete. All precautionary. My race year is on hold.


I have three races bought and paid for but I'm not sure if I will compete this year. No, indoor tris and no special training until I get the next tests reslults. If it is positive, another stent and a 3 month recovery starts again. 


I hope racing can motivate my fitness. I hope I will be racing on the new QR Illicito frame I bought last month. 

I hope that I get healthy. 




Great news. I failed my third Stress test. Ahh, you may think, how is that great?
That forced the surgeon to do another Cardiac Catheterization. On Tuesday he went in and found no blockages and the reason for the last two failed tests. Minor scarring on the bottom of the left ventricle. This is not normally supplied by the LAD but he believes that it is possible that my LAD extends to that portion of the heart and caused the scarring.
The best part, it has not affected my ejection fraction (that ratio of blood pumped out compared to the amount it can hold). Using the healthy range of 55 to 70% mine is 70%.
So, as soon as the small hole in the artery in my wrist heals, I am cleared for full and vigorous workouts. I will be starting out in Zone R for a couple of weeks to ease back in and then slowly increase the intensity.

Thanks everyone for your concerns.

Hope things have worked out for you. I've spent my entire career working in Cardiac ICUs....take it slow, follow the advice, listen to your body.

It sucks that you have races paid for already, but maybe you can get some sort of partial refund due to extenuating circumstances.

That being said, a layoff for a while, and a return to the sport a bit down the road is much better than jumping the gun and never coming back to the sport.

Try to think long term. Back in my soccer days, I spent 18 months on the sidelines due to a knee injury. It's better to have a full recovery than to rush into it only to make things worse.
Good luck with the recovery.